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ABAKAN, Russia -- A court in the central Russian republic of Khakassia has ordered the suspension of operations at a local plant where 10 workers were hospitalized with lead poisoning in mid-March, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

A special investigation at the Karat-CM metallurgical plant in the town of Sorsk revealed that the concentration of lead in the air inside one of the factory's workshops was 18 times higher than the permitted level.

The court today fined the plant's management 20,000 rubles ($680) along with suspending its operations for three months. A criminal investigation is under way.